Ombudsman dismisses 9 gov’t execs in P47.5-M PDAF scam

MANILA-- The Office of the Ombudsman (Ombudsman) has dismissed from the service nine government executives who were allegedly involved in the misuse of the PHP47.5-million Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of then Misamis Occidental (1st District) Rep. Marina Clarete from 2007 to 2009.

The Ombudsman found the officials of the defunct National Agribusiness Corporation (NABCOR), National Livelihood Development Corporation (NLDC) and Technology Resource Center (TRC) guilty of grave misconduct, serious dishonesty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service for the unlawful disbursement of the 2007 to 2009 PDAF of Clarete.

NABCOR Manager Romulo Relevo and Bookkeeper Maria Ninez GuaAizo; NLDC Directors Emmanuel Alexis Sevidal and Chita Jalandoni, and Division Chiefs Gregoria Buenaventura, Ofelia OrdoAez and Sofia Cruz; TRC Chief Accountant Marivic Jover and Budget Specialist Consuelo Espiritu were meted the penalty of dismissal from the service with the accessory penalties of cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits, and perpetual disqualification from reemployment in the government service.

The penalty is convertible to a fine equivalent to one year salary in case of separation from the service.

The Ombudsman found that Relevo, et al. extended unusual accommodation in the release of the PHP47.5-million PDAF in favor of the Kabuhayan at Kalusugang Alay sa Masa Foundation, Inc. (KKAMFI), Kasangga sa Magandang Bukas Foundation, Inc. (KMBFI) and the Aaron Foundation Philippines, Inc. (AFPI), three non-government organizations (NGOs) specifically chosen by Clarete as project partners in implementing her so-called integrated livelihood development projects in Misamis Occidental.

However, extensive field investigation and the Commission on Audit (COA) found that the projects were "ghost or inexistent" as there were no livelihood trainings or seminars conducted.

It was also found that the list of beneficiaries, accomplishments and liquidation reports were all fictitious and that despite the irregularities, respondents certified the disbursements and issued checks without verifying the supporting documents.

"Instead of using the PDAF disbursements received by them to implement the livelihood projects, the officers of KKAMFI, KMBFI and AFPI, as well as their suppliers, all acting in conspiracy with Clarete and herein respondents, diverted the PDAF for their own personal benefits," the Ombudsman said.

Aside from the dismissal, Relevo, et al. are also facing multiple criminal charges before the Sandiganbayan for their involvement in several PDAF scam cases.

Source: Philippine News Agency